Considering the chop? It’s ‘Big Hair Change’ season and bobs are back

Laura Kennedy seeks advice from Dylan Bradshaw on what you need to ask yourself before your summer haircut

We’ve hit the season of the BHC (Big Hair Change). It happens every year without fail. The promise of holiday season can generate an urge to go for the chop.

As usual, celebrities tend to lead the way when it comes to beauty trends. Dramatic hair transformations are no exception. Hailey Bieber, the ubiquitous it-girl whose much-hyped beauty brand Rhode just launched in the UK, recently debuted a very short, blunt bob created by celebrity stylist Irinel de León.

It’s a striking look – the perfect enviably low maintenance summer cut and quite liberating as it’s so much quicker to wash and style, no matter your hair texture. The bob re-emerges in new lengths, shapes and tones every year.

Earlier this year, Emily Ratajkowski chose to wear her (previously long) hair in a glossy but textured French-style micro-bob.


I recently found myself in New York for the US launch of the Dyson AirStrait – their new wet-to-dry straightening tool for all hair types. The brand has yet to announce an Irish release date but the launch lends credence to the rumoured demise of the beachy wave and the return of 90s and early 2000s straight hair. All the talk of hair styling – and maybe the early New York summer heat – gave me the urge to chop. Once upon you, it’s hard to shake.

There to New York also went Dublin-based hairstylist and Dyson global ambassador Dylan Bradshaw. Bradshaw is the man who reinvented singer Imelda May’s signature rockabilly look with that cool, grungy short cut that signified her new career direction. He’s known as the go-to-guy for changing your look but, crucially, also for working with the hair you actually have. He likes to create a style you can air dry and still feel nice in. This – obviously – is the dream of Irish women worldwide.

Knowing that he has a waiting list back home, I worked up the courage to ask Bradshaw if he had time to chop my hair off during the trip. I was after a slightly longer, messier bob that would hack off my processed ends and require much less effort.

He knocked on my door the next morning holding a pair of scissors and a crisp gown sporting the logo of his eponymous South William Street salon. He asked a lot of questions about what I wanted before starting on the cut. It took me a moment to realise that he was, in part, checking whether I’d considered the change carefully and had realistic expectations. This was instantly reassuring.

Conscious of my extreme good luck in being able to ask the founder of one of Ireland’s top salons to help pull out the mini bar in a New York hotel room so he could reach the socket to plug in a hairdryer, I asked Bradshaw for his advice to others making the big chop. I’ll be sticking it to the fridge as eternal beauty wisdom.

Dylan Bradshaw’s advice for a Big Hair Change:

Know your ‘Why’

Before he started, Bradshaw wanted to know why I wanted most of my hair cut off. “It’s sometimes an impulse when something happens in life and a person wants to feel different but it’s better to do it when you already feel different and want that change reflected in your look.” In other words, avoid the chop as a knee-jerk reaction to a big life event. Do it because it feels reflective of who you are now – this will lessen the chances of regretting a big change.

Research your stylist carefully

Thank goodness for social media. You can look at countless examples of a stylist’s work before you go to see them. Be meticulous, opting for someone whose prices are within your budget, who works in a style that aligns with yours and with whom you have a good connection when you go for a consultation.

A great stylist will look at your particular face shape, bone structure and style. They’ll consider the proportions of your forehead and the condition and texture of your hair. With this information, they’ll create something bespoke to you.

Expect an in-depth consultation and listen to your stylist

If you’re unsure about the change, arrange the consultation on a separate day to the cut, suggests Bradshaw. A good stylist should ask questions about what you want, listen to your answers so that you feel genuinely heard and tell you if they think your expectations are unrealistic. Once you’ve put the research into finding the right person, it’s important to take their advice on board. No in-depth consultation? That’s a big red flag.

Be honest

Aspirational, celebrity trend-inspired styles can be tempting but Hailey Bieber has an elite superforce beauty team lurking around her at all times and millions of dollars to keep her hair perpetually perfect. If you want to opt for a super-short style like a pixie cut, consider whether cut and colour appointments every six to eight weeks are feasible for you. If you’re a four-times-a-year salon visitor (that’s me), tell your stylist so they can create a look that fits the lifestyle you actually have.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about beauty